"Happy Birthday Leipzig Opera Ball", soprano Jennifer Porto sung in the style of Marilyn Monroe. And then 2500 guests celebrated all night long. The 20th Leipziger Opernball was more popular than ever before.
The 4000 lottery tickets were almost torn from the pots carried by 25 hostesses and 10 hosts. All the guests wanted the prize, a blue Porsche Macan from the factory in Leipzig. Gundula Zürner (49) from Leipzig had the lucky ticket: "I can't get my head around it, I've never won anything in my life", said the engineering economist, who until now drove an Audi. She was at the ball with her husband and only bought two tickets for 10 euro. Just before, ex-figure skater Tanja Szewczenko (37) won a four day trip for two in Leipzig's partner city Houston (USA). She ran onto the stage screaming for joy; her partner brought her the silver high heels. The lottery was held to benefit "Leipzig hilft Kindern" ("Leipzig helps children").
A great program with classical music, film music and cheerful dancing filled the Opera in Leipzig with soloists, ballet, choir and a house orchestra. The artists were helped by two singers from the Grand Opera Houston, because the motto of the evening was 'Good evening Houston, let's have a ball'. The new presenter of the ball Kim Fisher was witty, spontaneous and in shirt sleeves. Compared to her predecessor Frauke Ludowig her presenting was a small motel rather than a luxury hotel, but coherent and fitting the American looseness. Together with Leipzig talent Richard Istel she sang a convincing duet that was fun for the both of them.
There was no stopping during the performance of Kim Wilde (53). The masses stormed forward, surrounded the stage, raised the arms and smartphones. Everyone sang along to her legendary hits like 'View from a bridge', 'Kids in America', 'You keep me hangin' on' and 'You came' - a shared flight back to youth in the Eighties. After an hour the Swing Dance Orchestra only had a half filled floor before them, because the guests went in droves to the concert foyer to see Oliver Pocher (36) as a DJ. The high heels were thrown in the corner, skirts were gathered and people danced so hard that the floor quaked.
If anything is to be improved about next year's ball, it's the acoustics on the ranks and the long lines before catering in the foyer.
The 21st Leipziger Opernball happens on October 24, 2015 - then, because of works in the opera - in the Kongresshalle. Partner country will be Israel.